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25 Mar 2020 | 04:28 AM UTC

Colombia: Nationwide quarantine implemented March 24 /update 5

Government implements 19-day nationwide quarantine as of March 24; follow authority directives

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Event

The Colombian government implemented a 19-day nationwide quarantine as of Tuesday, March 24, in efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The quarantine began at 23:59 (local time) and will remain in place until at least Monday, April 13. A total of 24 exceptions will be made with the proper documentation and administrative approvals, including leaving one's home for medical care, medication, food, bank services, for childcare and care of elderly people. Transportation service will continue, though limited and in service and exclusively for those who require healthcare.

On Thursday, March 19, President Ivan Duque announced that all travelers from abroad, including Colombian citizens and permanent residents, will be barred from entering Colombia for a period of at least 30 days starting at midnight (local time) on Monday, March 23. On Monday, March 16, Colombia implemented an entry ban on all foreign travelers from abroad. All those entering the country from abroad were required to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days.

To date, there are 378 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including three associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.